ROSE-HULMAN FANS: Wear your Rose-Hulman "RED" to the game if you're going to Hanover!!
TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Hanover College will vie for hosting rights for the 2013 HCAC Men's Basketball Tournament during Saturday's 3 p.m. matchup at Hanover.
No. 18 ranked Rose-Hulman stands 21-3 overall and 15-2 in league play, while Hanover has a 17-7 record and stands 14-3 in conference games.
If Rose-Hulman wins on Saturday, the Fightin' Engineers would clinch their first outright conference tournament championship since 1999. If Hanover wins, the Panthers would earn the top seed due to their two wins over third-place Transylvania University this season.
The winner will host the HCAC Tournament semifinal round on Feb. 22, and will also host the championship game on Feb. 23. Rose-Hulman and Hanover have secured byes into Friday's semifinal round of the tournament, with the winners of two Tuesday opening round games also qualifying.
The Fightin' Engineers have won 21 games for the second most in a single season in men's basketball program history. Rose-Hulman continues to lead NCAA Division III in scoring defense at 50.1 points per game. The defensive effort includes 11 games holding the opposition to 45 points or less and seven games allowing 40 points or less.
Offensively, Julian Strickland (13.9 ppg) and Austin Weatherford (12.5 ppg) have both crossed the 1,000-point mark in their careers so far this season. Jon Gerken (7.2 ppg), Brenton Balsbaugh (6.9 ppg) and James Pillischafske (4.4) round out the starting lineup, and Nate Gissentanner (7.8 ppg) has provided scoring depth off the bench.
Hanover moved into title contention with a 73-70 win at Transylvania University on Wednesday night. Tim Bass (13.4 ppg), Ryan Nowicki (12.8 ppg), Brian Gunter (10.4 ppg) and Drake Hendricks (8.0 ppg) lead perhaps the most balanced scoring attack in the league. Hanover also leads the HCAC with 222 steals this season.